Monday, May 31, 2010

Cotton Row 2010

Cotton Row, Cotton Row. How I love and hate you all at the same time!

Cotton Row is the premier footrace event in this area. I love the festivities. I love seeing people who may run one race per year pushing themselves. I love renewing old acquaintances. I saw people today that I haven't seen in well over 5 years. Really, this is a first class event.

Dink and Suzanne Taylor know how to put on an event. Thanks to Fleet Feet in Huntsville and Mercedes Benz of Huntsville for sponsoring this race. Every year it seems better than the year before.

Huge shout to some folks who ran great today... I'm proud of my bud Daniel Ogles for his hard work preparing for this and then gutting it out. A co-worker Olivia Cole signed up and did both the 10k and the 5k. I thought only crazy people did that. And my good friend and Fleet Feet Racing team mate Eric Fritz busted the 20 minute mark today! Nice job!

It is all about me isn't it? I ran a 40:36 (why o why can I NOT break 40 in the 10k?) which was 66th overall. I ran a lousy 5k in 20:18 (how's that for even pacing) but that got 2nd in my age group.

The 10k
I was going to run with my friend Shane O'Neill, and I did for a mile and a half or so. He was going to pace me to a sub 40. If I had stayed with him, I would have broken 40. I let him go pretty early.

I was totally unprepared for this race. I am simply not in 10k shape. And this course is tough. Really tough. I should have been a little tougher. I just didn't get after it like I should have today. It's one thing to be unprepared, but it's another to lay down a bit during a race. I have a good reason to be unprepared (Country Music Marathon), but not giving my best to the course today is inexcusable.

Having said that, 40:36 is a 21 second PR. That's nice, but I should be breaking 39.

I ran a smart race, but not a tough one. I didn't start too fast. I ran the hill hard, but didn't redline. I was right on pace at the top, and I intended to bring in the last 2 miles near to 6:00.
  1. 6:13
  2. 6:27
  3. 6:45
  4. 7:00
  5. 6:14
  6. 6:29 (I just didn't like hurting. Wimp.)
  7. 1:27 (0.24 miles)
The 5k
I had no motivation for the 5k. I didn't want to put in the effort that would be required to break 20. I knew that I had no PR in me. Why was I doing this? I still don't know. Next year, I think I'll just volunteer at Cotton Row.

I started on sub 20 pace and thought I might hold it. I hit the 1 mile mark at 6:22 and felt un-miserable. So, I held on for about another quarter mile and simply gave up. It was hurting and I wanted to quit. I ran mile 2 in a terrible 6:50. Huh? Really. I was a quitter today. I seriously thought about coasting the rest of the way at about a 9:00 pace. That would have been pleasant.

But then Brett Wilks caught me at about 2.5 miles. I probably was coasting near 7:30 when he caught me. Miserable. I even told Brett to go ahead, I was done. I expected him to surge and go, but he didn't. He stayed with me. So, I had to speed up. The faster I ran, the faster he ran. He wasn't going to put me away, but he wasn't going to let me quit either. When we hit the 3 mile mark, I decided that now is the time. Will I toy around or just go all out? I decided to just go. I really didn't know I could run that fast. I ran the last 0.11 miles in 29 seconds. Yeah, that's a sub 4:50 pace. And I felt like I could have done that a little longer, which was weird given how miserable the rest of the race had been.

I've just got to get tougher. I need to work harder, lose weight, and repeat hills. Cotton Row last year gave me the kick in the pants I needed to get serious about my training. This year, it will do the same.

All in all, a PR on a tough course and a day in which I was woefully unprepared isn't bad, but it wasn't my best and I know that. And the 5k, at least I learned that I can run fast if I have to. Positives and negatives from both races.


Getting My Words Out said...

Do we ever really know what our best is until after the fact?? It "always" feels like there was more to give AFTER I've caught my breath, and managed to hold in my breakfast, after pushing through the finish line...but at the time my feet were pounding the pavement, I THOUGHT I was doing all I could do---or I would have done more. Right?

Why can't we encourage ourselves the way we encourage other people?? How can someone like you look at me running the 10K in 1:18:23 and say (I believe sincerely) "You did great", but look in the mirror after running a PR 10K (just a month after a KILLER marathon, with very little preparation, on a beast of a course) and call yourself lazy for not running it faster?? I do the same thing so I'm really asking you the question hoping to gain insight into myself.

What kind of reaction do you have on the inside when someone looks at you and says "GREAT JOB!!!" Do you, like me, wince and think "no, it wasn' was pathetic"? Do you mentally run through all the things you did wrong? All the things you need to do in the future? When you reach a goal do you take it in and enjoy it, or do you just quickly set the bar a little (or a lot) higher for next time? Will there ever be a "good enough"??

Thanks for, once again, making me think.


mgreene said...

Eric, great job again. I know as runners we're never satisfied with performances, but as an outsider (at the moment) I can say congratulations!

rundanrun said...

Great job Eric. I was really impressed with the 5K and 10K pacing.
My friend Brad got me to run the Cotton Row this year (it was his first) I ran it in 2005. I knew it was not a PR run. Yet you ran a PR. Congratulations.

I kind of consider the Cotton Row an experience. it is great just to be there with a couple thousand of your best friends. That being said, I would have liked to run a little faster.